#28DaysOfBlackHistory #Day4 Billie Holiday also known as Lady Day; have you ever heard her sing!? Sheesh, her voice is hypnotizing. But, did you know Billie was born to a 19yr old mother who was kicked out of the crib and her pops was a musician who wasn’t around? Sound like the nonsense of today right!?
At the tender age of 12 she had a job running errands in a brothel, by 14 she was prostituting in a different brothel in Harlem. The Harlem brothel was raided and Billie was arrested.
After being released she started singing in Harlem night clubs then calling herself “Billie Dove” inspired by an actress she admired and her “pops”. Eventually, she went ahead and took what she thought was her biological name of “Holiday” from her potential dad, Clarence Holiday. She got her big break at 18 at a club called Covan’s.
Fast forward, Billie obtained huge commercial success, but often in those days (like today) it came with drug addiction and legal problems. She died in 1959 from complications caused by cirrhosis of the liver. When she died she had 70 cents in the bank.
Some of her biggest hits “Blue Moon”, “Nobody’s Business”, “Autumn In New York” and of course “Strange Fruit” referring to the blacks that were lynched in the south “hanging from the trees”; recently sampled by Kanye on “Blood On The Leaves”
Last Friday night, I was in the crib chillin sippin on 50yr old Glenlivet and listening to Billie’s radio station on Spotify and my mood was so eerily surreal, I felt like everything was how it was supposed to be. I wonder what feeling she invoked to those that heard her live!?
Billie, you may have had a hard life, but through your music you brought so much joy, and you’re an iconic staple in black history!